Senator Charles Schumer was in Kingston Wednesday to call attention to the recent rash of scrap metal thefts in the city. He unveiled new legislation that would crackdown on thieves and provide law enforcement with tools to protect citizens and Infrastructure... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.
Senator Schumer made his remarks at the Kingston Trolley Museum... he blames a rash of recent Ulster County metal thefts on desperate econmic times and the price of metals and commodities, which he notes have risen so sharply that metal has become a target for theft that's impossible to resist.
Schumer points out it's too easy for thieves to sell metal to scrapyards for cash.
Schumer emphasized metal theft is growing nationwide : he laid out his legislative proposal to make it a federal offense.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein called metal theft a "national Scourge".
Metal theft affected the region's recovery from last year's early snowstorm - it took utility workers weeks instead of a day or two to restore desperately needed electricity because thieves had stripped copper out of transformers. Ulster County legislators will be asked to consider a new local law that would require scrapyards to hold any items for a 5-day period if a request is made by a law enforcement agency.
Schumer believes his proposal will move into the legislative fast lane in Washington